What Is Diamond Scintillation?

what is diamond scintillation

Diamonds are one of the most precious and valuable gemstones that mankind has ever received. With the advancement in the cutting skills and technology. Mankind came to know even more exactly the specific attributes which make them the beautiful stones as they are. The advanced researches from the American Gem Society or the AGS have shed more light upon these attributes, even more, thanks to them. These elements or attributes are namely dispersion. Which also goes by the name of fire and diamond scintillation which commonly is known as sparkle.

In the year of 2007, the AGS published their researches and studies about diamond’s light performance and scintillation. These researches now can be found in the Journal of Optical Engineering. And thanks to AGS again these studies have proved to be brilliant in enlightening one. About the secrets and mysteries to why a diamond exactly shines. This is also the reason why buyers and consumers nowadays opt-out for AGS Triple Zero reports and certifications. Whenever they try to scale the looks and visual properties of a sparkling diamond.

Diamond light performance

diamond light performance

To describe easily, the light performance of a diamond. Is the interaction of light that gets reflect from the facets of the diamond with the naked eye of the observer. This is also why the brilliance and value of a diamond greatly depend on the craftsmanship, cut quality, and design of it; respectively. Even the GIA or the Gemmological Institute of America clearly states. That the cut quality of a diamond has the most effect on its beauty. Than any other of features that the diamond might have.

For the best light performance, a diamond requires many things to have; which are namely proper facet alignments, proper proportions, and a good polish. There must not be any form of light leakage or if there is it should be minimize to the best. So that the diamond can showcase the best possible sparkle and beauty.

Diamond Scintillation

diamond scintillation

Now let us understand the science of scintillation or diamond sparkle. It is nothing but the sum product of motions. The things required in this aspect are; a bright light source, movement of the diamond, and an observer to view the reflection of the light. The resultant is the on and off type effect among every facet showcasing a blinking type scenario of light from every facet of the stone. For the best possible effect, the diamond must be viewed in a place that provides proper contrast. If it’s too much then the diamond may seem dark whereas if it’s too little, the sparkle gets reduced.

As per the research from AGS there are mainly two types or to be more specific two factors aiding to the scintillation of a diamond. They are flash scintillation and fire scintillation. The former may be defined as the sparkle of white light. And the latter is the sparkle of colored lights or sparkle of dispersed white light.

There is also another factor that aids in the scintillation of a diamond. This is the size of each facet in a diamond. It is very much essential that every facet of a diamond is cut and proportionated properly. To showcase the best possible sparkling effect the diamond can provide.

Patterning the facets

diamond facets

Yes, it is very essential to maintain proper scintillation patterns that the diamond may exert the best possible sparkle. The pattern is nothing but a perfect mixture or blends of facet size, facet shape, size of the diamond, background contrast, and a proper light source. The balance should always be maintained.

The relation between facet and sparkle effect is also an important aspect. Simply put, more facets in the diamond will result in numerous flashes of faint light and color. A lesser number of facets will showcase few but bolder flashes of light and color. That’s it.

How to measure the “Sparkle Factor”?

how to measure the sparkle factor

First of all, to get things straight, we must not confuse the light performance with the scintillation performance. Sparkle factor means Scintillation performance and is evaluate with the help of ASET imaging. ASET images are static images of diamonds in the presence of diffuse lighting. Let us just have an idea about how these measurements are done. By looking at the reporting of two well-known diamond grading labs-

The Sarine’s scintillation report

the sarine scintillation report

Their reports consist of actual gradings of a diamond’s color grade, clarity, brilliance, fire flash, and light symmetry. All these gradings are summarize for a total and complete scintillation performance report. The grading scale consists of measurements from the top scale or the “Ultimate” to the bottom scale, which is named “Low”

The AGS Lab’s Scintillation report

AGS, with the help of ray tracing technology, creates a 3-D model of the diamond to be examine and creates various images of the diamonds. These images are also called color-coded maps. And they are namely flash scintillation maps, fire scintillation maps, and scintillation patterning maps. All these image mappings are brought together to form a compilation report. This is the Scintillation report that AGS provides.

Do more facets equate to better scintillation?

do more facets equate to better scintillation

No, it does not. As stated previously, the number of facets does not typically ensure that. The scintillation or sparkling factor of a diamond would be higher. The important thing is that the size and proportions of these facets must be appropriate. And with proper polish as such will increase the chances of light to reflect throughout the diamond and resultantly better sparkling factor.

It is the job of the cutter to enhance the scintillation of the diamond as he is the one who is responsible for the facet size and proportions and symmetry of the diamond. Hence, we may also say that scintillation is nothing but an amalgamation of art and science.


overview diamond scintillation

All in all, the key factor to perfect and superior scintillation and light performance is the balance between flash and fire scintillation and keeping the consistency in cut grade quality. The science of scintillation may seem complex to one but the concepts are pretty simple enough. We are the overall examiners of the diamond’s beauty and thus we shall determine what looks and feels beautiful to us. The concept of diamond scintillation is not all about complex equations and patterns and symmetry and numbers, it also is about the “feel” factor.

With all the information’s discussed above, one shall get a good idea about certain questions like what makes their diamonds sparkle or why diamonds sparkle at all. They can now use this knowledge obtained to their utmost benefits while they shop for the perfect sparkling diamond for themselves.